Defense Attorney – A Glimpse into the Profession
Becoming a defense attorney requires years of hard work and a lot of sacrifices. One of the biggest and most important cornerstones of the criminal justice system in the country is everyone’s right to a fair trial. The job of a defense attorney requires experience, knowledge, and a lot of patience because the opposition lawyers will expose any chinks in the armor.
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Defense Attorney – Job Description
A defense attorney has to perform a lot of difficult and varied tasks, depending on the nature of the case and the facts in front of him. Some of the major job duties of defense attorneys are as follows:
- Identifying and gathering evidence.
- Judging their client.
- Judging the facts of the case.
- Judging the testimony of their clients.
- Looking for weaknesses in their defense and eliminating them.
- Looking for weakness in the opposing lawyer’s evidence.
- Filing and drafting appeals.
- Dealing with the press in case of high-profile cases.
Traits of a Defense Attorney
Defense attorneys should be great at a lot of different things at the same time. Some of them are:
- Willing to spend long hours preparing a case.
- Analyzing even the minutest of detail.
- Making sure that the defense is airtight.
- Should have a thick skin.
- Should have patience.
- Should have a great supporting team.
- Should be able to think on their feet.
- Should know the criminal justice system inside out.
How to Become a Defense Attorney
The journey towards becoming a defense attorney is hard and will require years. It will pay off at the end of the day.
The Right Education
The first step is to get the right educational credentials. Every aspiring lawyer needs a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. The degree should be in criminal justice preferably because that will provide you a good foundation. That being said, if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can still move on to become a lawyer.
Attend a Law School
Once you have your bachelor’s degree in hand, you can move on to attend law school. It is mandatory to get a law degree, so it is imperative that you pick the right school to go to. Upon graduation, you will have Juris Doctorate (J.D.), but not before being put through countless hours of hard work.
Get Through the Bar Exam
You will also have to sit for and clear the bar exam. The bar council exam in a particular jurisdiction will pave the way for you to appear in high court and supreme court cases.
Career Outlook of Defense Attorneys
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics presents a great future outlook for lawyers in the US. According to BLS, lawyers will experience a job growth of 9% from 2020 to 2030.
Salary of Defense Attorneys
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, $148,910 was the mean annual salary of lawyers in the US in 2020. Their median annual income was $126,930. Below are the five highest paying US states for lawyers in 2020.
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics